AMY HASTANAN, L.Ac, LMT is a dually licensed Acupuncturist and Massage Therapist, with over 14 years of experience in the field of complimentary and alternative medicine. Amy's private practice is located in the heart of Kaimuki on the island of Oahu.
She received her initial massage training in Thailand (2005) and completed her studies at NYC (2008). She has spent her career working alongside chiropractors and physical therapists, which has guided her focus towards pain management and rehabilitation for acute and chronic pain, post-surgery and injuries. Amy received a Master's of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in 2015, from Honolulu's Institute for Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Amy now blends the anatomical knowledge gained from her medical massage experiences with her understanding of the meridian system to create individualized treatments; a mix of East and West. Amy’s massage style of choice is deep tissue with acupressure and ashiatsu; switching between the use of hands and feet. Amy is certified in both Sarga Bodywork® and Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy® (AOBT).
I am intrigued by the anatomy and the body's potential. My goal is to alleviate peoples' pain, so it is no longer a hindrance or burden to their joy. Maintenance through self care and bodywork is a lifestyle.
Q & A:
What motivated/inspired/led you to become a professional massage therapist, and where did you go to massage therapy school? I knew pretty young I wanted to be in the field of health and wellness. The majority of my family is in medicine; my mother a registered nurse, my dad a general surgeon, my sister a doctor and my brother a paramedic. Once my eldest sister, an artist, asked me, “How did you end up where you are now?” But before I could formulate my answer fully, she added a memory that I was too young to recall. “One day when we were on Dad’s boat, I got seasick. You were only 4 or so. You told me to lie down and you massaged my shoulders and head. I felt better.”
My experience with eastern healing arts began with travels to Asia throughout my twenties. Thai massage was a skill I found beautiful and inspiring; I wanted to learn as a way to engage my heritage. In 2005, I attended a training in Thailand, Surat Thani Province, on the island of Koh Tao, through the Sunshine Network founded by Asokonanda. Upon my return to the states, I I enrolled to NYC’s Swedish Institute, the oldest continuously operating massage therapy institution in the US. There, I studied Deep Tissue with a western medical approach – alongside Shiatsu, an eastern massage modality with focus on five element theory and meridian systems. Both Thai massage and Shiatsu incorporate martial arts moves, rhythmic pushing and pulling and the use of therapist thumbs, palm, forearm, knees, and feet. It came most naturally to add barefoot bodywork, to my repertoire because of my past training in eastern therapies, but also for the longevity of my career.
If you had another job/career prior to becoming a massage therapist, how does that life experience contribute to the work you do now? I did have another career before massage, I spent 10 years+ in the fashion industry. I went to Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in NYC. I worked for a showroom as a fit model then sales rep. Representing up and coming designers; helping to get them in better boutiques and department stores across the U.S; I worked long hours at trade shows and performed multiple seasons on the international market from NY, to Paris, and London.
Working in fashion made me want to change my life - so stressful! Haha, I wanted to do work that was fulfilling and more of a lifestyle, so I dug deep and choose a more a more health conscious path. I also knew I wanted to use my hands and my body; that my work would involve movement. Fashion gave me insight into beauty and aesthetics. I apply this now in my work, in the imagery I use and the space I create for my clients. I also use the business savvy I gained towards my private practice!
What I really wanted, as a child, was to be a gymnast, after watching the unauthorized made-for-television biopic movie, Nadia (1984). I grew up with a very basic background in ballet, tap, jazz in the inner city, in the Bronx in the early 80's. Martial arts, breaking dancing, breaking, and popping & locking were all in my periphery, in the street. If I were to have another career, it would have had to be related to dance, performance, or gymnastics. I know that is why Sarga Bodywork was so intriguing to me; it was a way for me to combine performance, beauty, and the healing arts!
How long have you been licensed and practicing as an LMT? That's a tricky question for me because I started "practicing" before I was licensed. I had not idea what becoming a massage therapist meant logistically when I started my training in 2005 abroad. I say 14 years because that's when my experience began. I have only been licensed since 2008, in multiple states, including New York, Oregon, and Hawai'i.
What kind of approach do you bring to your bodywork, and what massage techniques do you specialize in? I integrate all of my training into tailored sessions that are both focused and relaxing. From my western anatomical studies, experience within luxury spas in NY, to wellness centers, and chiropractic offices, I bring professionalism and a multi-faceted approach to my patients/clients. From my TCM background, I look through the lens of meridian systems. I alway mix East and West. I am a huge proponent of Fire Cupping and will blend that into most sessions or as a stand alone treatment. I would say I specialize in acute and chronic injuries; I like to have a goal and am passionate about solving problems and finding solutions. Using a mixed modality method is my approach to recovery, rehabilitation, and pain reduction.
What kind of marketing do you use to find new clients, as well as keep current clients coming back to you? Mnh. I'm that border line Gen Y/Millennial; ya know the one categorized as having the least brand loyalty, but put their trust in proven and superior product history, have little patience for inefficient or poor service... So I don't "market" per se. I am lucky enough to live on an island that values Ohana and word of mouth. I do use platforms like Yelp, but I refuse to pay. My biggest asset is doing my best work, having a website, social media presence, and online booking. Im accessible.
When you are not working or in the office... When not working I am either: A). Lounging around like a salamander because by body needs to recover from this work; that tends to be on the beach with Una throwing a Chuck It Ball, or B). Strength training for this work because I need to maintain a level of fitness and mobility to stave off pain and repetitive use injuries; I have taken up pole dancing as a hobby and would really love a set up in my (wo)man cave one day!